Repairs underway onboard Aviva
The Aviva Ocean Racing team will host a ‘maître voilier' workshop over the next few days as Dee Caffari fashions a new-look mainsail out of cuts from spare spinnaker cloth.
A frantic round of measuring, cutting, trimming and gluing will be followed by a sequence of dropping and hoisting as Dee finally encounters the right light airs conditions to make wholesale repairs to her badly laminated mainsail.
Already buoyed up by the gains she has made in the past couple of days, which have stretched the gap between her and Arnaud Boissières behind her in Akena Vérandas and closed it between her and Brian Thompson in Bahrain Team Pindar, seventh placed Dee is looking forward to getting on deck and rolling up her sleeves.
"I am moving, the sun is out, the temperature is up and everything is marvellous," she said this morning as the winds dropped to enable her to shake out her two reefs and get started.
"I need two pieces of 6m x 4m cloth that I can stick to either side of the sail to cover up the damage. I can reveal that unfurling a Code 5 spinnaker down below is extremely tricky but thankfully I did that yesterday so am ready to get my tape measure out and mark up the sections.
"Then I will get the scissors out, cut the thing up and take everything on deck where I will fit it and trim it, hoist it and drop it as I stick various bits on and god knows what else. It could be very entertaining and I would video it except that I don't have enough hands
"I have a lot of area where the fibres are exposed but only one section where they are damaged so I am concentrating on those first and see how they hold before I use all my glue.
"When that's done I will have more options so will be able to get some speeds up. It would be good to catch up with Brian. Whoever gets the breeze first the other side of this ridge of high pressure will get away quicker.
"Someone will get away then the other will catch up and I think it could be like that all the way home so it will be interesting. It would be really good if I can stay with it. I'm trying hard not to count down the days to the finish but we have had a really good few days when we have cut off a load of miles really quickly.
"If it all goes well and assuming the sea temperature has gone up a bit more I will celebrate by having a shower and changing into some new clothes. A nice little cocktail dress maybe."